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U.K. Debt, Financial Restraints Are a Joke

Updated on September 22, 2018
ethel smith profile image

With a keen interest in British politics this writer is never afraid to share her opinion

Will Parliament feel the credit crunch?
Will Parliament feel the credit crunch?

The Condem coalition government 2010

The coalition government of the UK, announced its first budget June 22, 2010.

As expected it included budget cuts.

The Tory Liberal Democrat coalition was adamant that these cuts would be fair and across the board.

No more one law for the rich and one for the poor but in reality this was far from the truth.

However, they masked matters well and played a cunning hand.

People on the whole accepted a tightening of their belts was inevitable and to be endured.

This meant that the June 24 news reports, regarding massive bonuses for Network Rail chiefs, came as a slap in the face to those ordinary people who struggle to survive on a daily basis

They also proved embarrassing for the sanctimonious so-called Condem government.

Fat Cats Rule

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ian Coucher is to receive 641,349 as a golden hand shake whilst other workers are to have their measly pay and pensions attackedPhillip Hammond transport Secretary
Ian Coucher is to receive 641,349 as a golden hand shake whilst other workers are to have their measly pay and pensions attacked
Ian Coucher is to receive 641,349 as a golden hand shake whilst other workers are to have their measly pay and pensions attacked
Phillip Hammond transport Secretary
Phillip Hammond transport Secretary

Network Rail Fiasco 2010

Rail transport in the U.K. when I was young, belonged to the country. It was nationalized transport with pros and cons.

As a nationalized industry British Rail was heavily subsidized by the Government, so in effect it was owned by the people.

The government was using taxpayers money after all.

During a previous Conservative party government the British railway system was broken up. Transport Secretary Cecil Parkinson committed the Thatcher government of the day to privatization of rail.

The Thatcher government held a virtual fire-sale of the country’s infrastructure and utilities and decades later we are still being ripped off.

Private enterprise was encouraged and ordinary people were advised to invest in companies by becoming shareholders. For a time it was a golden age and people were making a killing but it was short-lived.

Inevitably the glory days of rail came and went and now the U.K. rail system has plenty of problems.

British Rail had many problems when it was nationalized but what makes it difficult now is different companies own and run different parts of our railway system.

This has led to uneven pricing and a postcode lottery of reliability of services.

Network Rail still receives some tax payers money via government subsidizes

In 2010 the Coalition Government were at pains to insist that top salaries, particularly in the public sector, would be held back yet the boss of Network Rail received an obscene pay deal.

The Condems claimed they would not allow more massive salaries and bonuses but they lied.

In the private sector the government does not always have the power to stop such payments but if a company gets government and taxpayers money surely it should, as in the case of Network Rail.

Here are the details of what was announced:

  • The Chief Executive of Network Rail, Iain Coucher, will get bonuses of more than £640,000.
  • Other Network Rail directors are to get extra payments which all run into six-figure sums
  • All in all the railway bosses will receive a total of more than £2 million in bonus payments.

These announcements came a short time after the Transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond asked that Network Rail chiefs remembered how generous their ordinary pay was.

With such levels of annual salary, massive bonus payments are not necessary and, in the current economic climate, are an insult to other public sector workers.

One company executive, Rick Haythornthwaite, refused to take any bonuses but he did say Network Rail only rewards success.

Big deal.

With such generous salaries should these people receive any extra financial reward at all?

Surely being a success is simply doing your job?

When you consider that public sector workers, who earn more than £21,000 a year, will have their pay frozen for two years, and those that earn less than £21,000 a year will receive a flat £250 increase for each of the years, it is obvious something is wrong.

To Infinity and Beyond

So here we are September 2018.

Since this report regarding Network Rail bosses pay deals the U.K. has had:-

  • An in or out E.U. referendum.
  • Local council and by-elections.
  • Three general elections with little changing except the Conservatives tightening a grip on government.
  • David Cameron resigning as Tory Party leader and P.M. of the country.
  • Theresa May becoming leader of the Tory Party without a single challenger.

One thing looks certain - elections are a growth industry yet austerity is here to stay!

With calls for a second E.U. Referendum or People's Vote as it is being popularly described British politics is currently shambolic.

The Conservative Party did not win a clear majority to govern the country. Mrs May leads what is called a hung Parliament.

Her government is propped up by the D.U.P of Northern Ireland but for a huge price and selectively.

Breixt is a poisoned chalice and perhaps no single party really wants to be runni g the country just now.

But in the midst of this, ongoing austerity measures which affect some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in British society looks st to roll on and on.

The fact is that is a political choice and down to this governments priorites while in office.

The following highlights the current governments pedigree.

News reports this week that Windrush generation members will be refused citizenship are shocking. The Independent reports:-

In a statement issued late on Friday afternoon, the Home Secretary said a number of Caribbean nationals who came to Britain between 1948 and 1971 would not qualify for citizenship because they failed to meet the “necessary good character requirement” due to committing criminal offences.

Windrush citizens are supposed to be afforded the same rights as British citizens, so the announcement is likely to prompt renewed accusations that they are effectively awarded second-class status.

Shame on the British government.

© 2010 Ethel Smith


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    • jaskar profile image


      10 years ago from England

      they keep feeding the voters crap and they keep voting for them. excelent. combined with FPTP we wont be seeing and end to this soft right BS economics for a while. orothodox economics doesnt work. and your hub outlines a perfect example of how.

      last time i heard the word keynes from a politician was from the green party.

      good article. well researched. enjoyed reading it.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I haven't received the email. I am in the same position as your girlfriend but earn even less.

      Trouble is that those deciding on the cuts will no doubt be managers who will feather their own nests.

      Thanks for the visit and wish your girlfriend luck from me. We are all going to need it in the NHS

    • rjbeech12 profile image


      11 years ago

      My girlfriend is a medical sec for a doctor in the UK, she makes around £18500 so her pay hasn't been frozen but for the amount of work she does its a joke that her pay has virtually been capped.

      Some good news though, yesterday the UK heath secretary actually emailed every NHS staff member in UK hospitals to tell them that the number of managers would be reduced which is great as they don't need half as many managers as there are currently.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      It is so frustrating Mick as so many voters just fall for the same old garbage from politicians.

    • MickS profile image


      11 years ago from March, Cambridgeshire, England

      excellent bit of work, Ethel.

      The deceit by the government will carry on.

      Someone up there mentioned the banks, we paid them, 50 billion was it to get the house market moving, the banks carried on starving the market and paid themselve massive bonuses with the money?

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      It better be a Noah's Ark I guess habee lol. Thanks for the visit

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      11 years ago from Georgia

      I think we're all in the same boat, Eth. I hope it's a really BIG ship!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      One thing is for sure it will be the poorest worst. Our government is starting on benefits now. No doubt those that are artful will still prosper and those in need suffer

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      11 years ago

      And now let's see what else they think up at the G20.

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I definitely agree with that. The railways have been ruined

    • Property-Invest profile image


      11 years ago from London

      It's so sad. The UK infrastructure is creaking at the seems I use the trains and tubes everyday. It should not be run for profit, but profits reinvested. All essential services should be run that way!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks GB and humagia.

      The Liberals have done their selves few favours teaming up with the Tories. In effect they will have lost potential voters in the next election.You make interesting and relevant points, thanks for dropping by.

    • GarnetBird profile image

      Gloria Siess 

      11 years ago from Wrightwood, California

      How SAD--when I lived in the UK I adored the trains.Very professional Hub!

    • humagaia profile image

      Charles Fox 

      11 years ago from United Kingdom

      Ethel, it needed to be said and you said it.

      However, to my mind it is not the financial constraints or the big bonuses that are the worst issues. Has anyone in the UK considered the outright lie that the coalition announced about the budget?

      What lie you ask?

      That the measures were UNAVOIDABLE!

      This is blatantly not true.

      The measures that have been implemented will ensure that each and every one of us in the UK will be in this mess for the next 10 to 15 years. Yes that long.

      The measures implemented are those that Japan implemented in the mid-1990's and they were catastrophic to their economy. Our Government has ensured that we will be in the same situation.

      To say that they implemented these strategies because of our debt position and that the markets and banking system required this to be the case is pure unadulterated claptrap. Our debt is not on the same basis as Greece, Spain, Portugal etc. Quantity-wise perhaps but quality-wise not. We are AAA rated and extremely unlikely ever to be otherwise. We pay our debt and we can pay our debts. Those are the qualities that differentiate our debt from that of the other European countries. If we were in so much of a hole debt-wise why are the Gilt interest rates so low? If we had a problem the Government would have to raise the return on investment considerably.

      It is time to stand and ask these nincompoops what their back-up strategy is. I personally cannot see how relying on the private sector to export us out of this mess can work within a five-year period when that export base does not even exist yet. With the pound becoming stronger against the Dollar and Euro exporting will become more difficult. What is more what do we have to export?

      The sooner the Lib Dems dump these imbecilic Tories and thereby cause another General Election the better.

      And as for making me work another year before being able to retire................ The French feel sorry for us. They are protesting about their Government trying to put their retirement age up to 62!!!!

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Thanks to you all for visiting. Those in the UK-yes I think we are in for a winter of discontent, big style. I know that these bonuses for network rail are not the only ones but the timing of their announcement, just after the budget, means that they were insensitive to say the least.

      To those in the USA good luck with your financial worries.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      11 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Very informative. It seems like the financial restraints is messed up in the UK as well as the US.

    • katiem2 profile image

      Katie McMurray 

      11 years ago from Ohio

      This issue of financial restraints is a very troubling fact or facts that are running a muck all over the world. God Bless of Each and Everyone! Peace :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      11 years ago from London, UK

      It is not only the railway who gets bonuses. The best is the banks which those high racky ran into the ground, got bailed out with tax money and got millions of bonuses. The Houses of Parliament ordered now luxury sofas each costing £4,600 and I think they were three or four thousand ordered. I am sure the previous hadn't had the springs hanging out. On a whole I think the vote was fiddled. The closing of the voting station which were all in the Midland and North where the Labour supporters are, was purposely done so. Noway they could have come back, normally, after waht they done the last time. Another thing will bite badly the working people is the VAT 20% because the shops will make a meal of it. Watch out the real thing is still to come in the autumn.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      11 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I learn much from this hub. Very informative. Good work, my dear. Thank you very much.

    • Shinkicker profile image


      11 years ago from Scotland

      It'll be interesting to see how ordinary British folk react when these measures begin to bite.

      We've been forced to bail out the banks who caused the mess and in return we're told we'll have to suffer.

      The Poll Tax led to major public unrest and demos.

      I think this will too.

    • barryrutherford profile image

      Barry Rutherford 

      11 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Ethel Thanks for posting this hub Like you I remeber me travelling through Yorkshire during the length of My childhood in England by train the 1960's until 1975. In Those days a railway worker was entiled to be proud to work for the railway.

      You can imagine my shock when I returned in 2000 to discover what a mess they had become !

    • ethel smith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Trouble is already looking but we British are not as politically active these days as the French etc. We might be though if such antics become the norm

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      11 years ago

      This is asking for trouble if ever I have seen it - massive austerity and then these bonuses - thanks for the report Ethel. For austerity measures to work and be accepted they have to be fair across the board. If not you get all the protests and riots - just to do, France, Italy, Greece and Romania - not good.


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